SCRAP AO 31 "STOP the legalization of State Exactions!"

Signed last October 1 that mandated all government heads and agencies to “Rationalize the rates of their fees and charges, increasing their rates and impose new fees and charges”, Migrante International-UAE strongly believes that Administrative Order 31 further legalizes “kotong” and state exactions on overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).

This practically institutionalizes more state exactions and fees imposed on OFWs when existing onerous fees are still under protest by the sector since President Aquino took office. Under Aquino, OFWs suffered more state exactions and fees throughout the whole migration cycle. Since 2010, the government had imposed numerous other fees from OFWs pre- and post-departure – the increase in e-passport fees, mandatory Pag-ibig contributions, Philhealth premium cost hike, mandatory medical insurance, Affidavit of Support fees, to name a few.

The proposed 100% Philhealth premium increase which was suspended due to widespread protest by OFWs around the world was a blatant attempt to extract more from OFWs. The increase was supposed to have been implemented last July but its implementation was deferred to January 2013.

“Now, because of AO 31, protests by OFWs can be easily ignored and brushed aside because no less than the President has ordered it.” Aside from the impending Philhealth premium hike, other fees and tax schemes being imposed on OFWs include the affidavit of support (AOS) here in UAE. institutionalization of state exactions when welfare services for OFW have gone from bad to worse. “Unresolved cases of OFWs continue to pile up at the POEA, National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) and Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).”

“OFWs are plagued with an assortment of issues and problems throughout the entire migration cycle yet the Aquino government has barely done any decisive action to support and protect its migrant workers and their families. The Aquino government’s ability to uphold Filipino migrants’ rights and promote their welfare has lagged behind its apparent success in pursuing its labor export policy.”

We hereby elect our dissention and condemnation to Administrative Order (AO) 31 and call for its Scrapping of all forms of State Exactions!!!